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Tycho / on Wed, Feb 4 2004 at 1:08 pm

They Cancelled Uru Live, It Looks Like

They’re saying that there really wasn’t the subscriber interest to support it, and while I find that sort of depressing it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.  The whole thing was really high concept, placed high demands on their technology, and had somewhat ethereal elements to it.  I’ve heard Uru Live’s functionality referred to as a sort of “chat room,” which is a claim so ridiculous that I hardly know how to characterize it.  My vocabulary is an arsenal, and I can’t produce a comparable understatement.

When I said ethereal elements, this is what I meant - that’s the homepage of the “D’ni Restoration Council,” the bureaucracy in the game that is preparing the ages (puzzle worlds) for travellers (i.e., players).  Look at the front page, I mean, there’s a character saying that Uru Live is canceled in story appropriate language.  You’re meant to log into this forum, ask questions, and discuss things with imaginary people.  It was even “hacked” by a character in the storyline at one point.  Go in there and read some of the official threads.  As much as I want every gamer to be the sort of person who will roleplay themselves on some message board, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon and I don’t blame a person for not being crazy in the way that makes that kind of thing desirable.   

To speak specifically to the chat room angle, you can certainly treat it like that if you wanted to, but you could succeed to varying degrees in that endeavor using any networked game.  That this game in particular allows you to create trusted neighborhoods of friends and explore puzzle ages together is another intangible I don’t imagine would be important to most people.  The main draw for me personally was the frequent release of new puzzle ages - the reason I play Myst to begin with - along with modifications to existing ages and revelations regarding a continuing story.  Their plan had been to release a new age every month - no waiting for a sequel, no waiting for an expansion, just a surreal new toy every so often.  As a person who is ready for episodic gaming to arrive, I was chomping at the bit.  From the the sounds of it, the work that was already underway for online release will still see the light of day in the form of expansion packs.  Maybe not as complete an experience as they had originally pictured, but I do not know that the world was ready for their feat of collaborative fiction.       

(CW)TB


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